Beta Readers, Feedback and “Real” Fiction

columbo

A little over a year ago I came up with an idea for a mystery series which I’ve been working on ever since. Originally, I had planned to write book one, publish it and then follow that up with the next two books in the series. But as I found myself waiting for feedback from beta readers, I decided it made more sense to just write all three books and publish either at once or in close succession. So as I waited for feedback on book one, I started book two and as I waited for feedback on book two I started book three. Now it’s just a whacky kind of feedback, edit, rewrite merry-go-round. But I am approaching the end and hopefully that will happen before I lose my mind.

Beta readers are un-freaking believably awesome

While I’ve worked with critique groups and swapped critiques with other writers, I never used beta readers until writing this series. I have to say they are worth their weight in gold, especially since mine are all vastly different people. Consequently it’s given me a wide range of feedback. Which is beyond awesome and I can’t believe there are people in the world who are willing to give their time and energy to reading and rereading in order to help me. Bless them. However, something interesting came up in recent feedback that I got from one of my beta readers made me start to wonder…

Can fiction be too real?

The made a comment about my style and approach to the story and said it was not like any he’d read before because much of my main character’s personal life played a key role in the story. And it made me think of comments from other beta readers who kept using the word ‘real’ to refer to the stories. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant but I assumed it was a good thing because of the enthusiasm with which it was said.

One reader even said she loved it because she felt like she got to be the main character and have the adventure as her. Again, seemed like a compliment and something to be happy about. But then this recent feedback from the other reader got me thinking. Maybe he was trying to say the same thing. That this immersion into the character’s life was more than most? Wasn’t usually done? Maybe that it was real or too real?

So I wondering what do you think?

Do you think that fiction should feel so real that you can be the main character and have her adventure as you’re reading?

Or is that too much?

Do you want to feel a distance from the main character and prefer to be a fly on the wall rather than wear her skin?

I’d really be interested in knowing what people think about that, so please feel free to tell me what you think.

In the meantime, back to editing.

Cheers.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

That damn dress and other blog posts I loved this week

heartSunglasses

Though there were lots of blog posts around the Internet this week, these are my faves. Lucky us we have the weekend to check them out. 😀

Of course life would not be complete if the Internet wasn’t exploding about something or other. But really is the dress white and gold? Black and blue? Let science explain. Here’s the science behind that goddamn dress

Fascinating that this social media venue seems to be leaving all others in the dust. 10 Amazing Facts About Pinterest Marketing That Will Surprise You

Who knew the word princess could cause such a shit-storm of controversy? The comments are very interesting and entertaining.  The Princess Author Syndrome

I found this whole concept fascinating and thought I might give it a try myself. I love the intimacy aspect too.  Reaching Readers: 7 Reasons You Need A Walking Podcast

For those of us looking for ways to stand out as authors, audio books are something to consider. Good nuts and bolts post on the how-to’s.  How to Produce Audiobooks with Amazon ACX

Which is the best venue for you? Read the post and you decide.  Amazon vs Apple

Have a great weekend.

WC

 

It’s Easy to get Discouraged

fennec fox

It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re pursuing a creative goal. Life in general is hard enough—getting to work on time, feeding the kids, paying the bills. That alone can exhaust you and leave little time and energy for other loftier goals.

I suppose I’m one of the ‘lucky ones’ because to a degree I’m living my dream. I make my living as a freelance writer and when I’m not doing that I work on my mystery series. So I’m living the charmed life, right? Not so much. I still have to pay rent, pay bills, pay for taxes, healthcare – the same costs you have. And when unexpected costs arise those have to be covered too.

And then life happened – again

For example, a couple of weeks ago my car started leaking oil. Was it is just a minor irritation that was easy and inexpensive to fix? Nope. It was a seal or two or maybe three. And apparently that’s a big deal because they need to drop the engine and do major surgery. So…the money I’d carefully set aside for piddly things like editing and cover design got reassigned. Sigh. Back to the drawing board and time to get more work in the door. And so it goes.

In an earlier time I might’ve just stuck my head in the oven and wailed. I might’ve thrown up my hands and proclaimed it was just too hard. That no matter what I did, it was always one step forward and two steps back. Then given up. Because, you know – I’m one of those temperamental and over-dramatizing creatives.

This time I decided to forego that particular dramatization and just shrug, pull the money together and keep focusing on the goal. And interestingly enough I only felt bad for a few hours, instead of the usual two weeks of woe and worry. And that felt kind of great in a way. I didn’t let life victimize me. I just gave it a, ‘Meh,’ and kept going.

If you focus it will come

A little over a year ago, I came up with an idea for a mystery series and decided to go for it. Initially I was only going to write the first book, publish it, and take it from there. But somewhere during the process I decided I might as well write all the books in the series and publish them in rapid succession. I knew exactly what the next two books were about, so why wait? If readers liked the first book they’d want to read the second and the third, why not have them ready and available. Granted it was a lot to bite off and chew and there have been times when I’ve called myself names for going this route. But something kind of magical happened during the process (and continues to happen because the process is still ongoing) I became fully committed to the project. I simply decided that my priority was the series and that everything else would have to support it, rather than the other way around. No matter what, I was going for it and wouldn’t let anything stop me.

Kind of amazing what a decision like that can bring about. Instead of making things more difficult, suddenly things just sort of happened. Work appeared out of nowhere. A little networking enabled me to line up a cover designer and proofreader. Doors opened in the weirdest most unexpected ways. Go figure. All because I finally decided that this writing thing was my priority. Duh, took long enough, eh?

But it’s not a piece of cake

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy. Given my particular goal I have little time to socialize and generally sit at my computer 14-16 hours a day, every day, every week. I often forget to eat and sometimes don’t manage to get out of my pajamas. My friends have sent out search parties looking for me. But I’m happy. I’m doing what I was meant to do. I’m being who I am. Sounds simple but you’d be amazed at how hard those two little things can be to accomplish. And in this crazy journey I’ve learned a few things:

  • You must analyze what went right as well as what went wrong. Otherwise you’ll never get anywhere.
  • Will your heart always be in it? Hello no. But do it anyway.
  • Sometimes the dark places are where we find our best work.
  • Giving up is not an option.
  • Life is a bully – it can beat you down. It won’t stop just because you surrendered. On the contrary, now it knows you’re a willing victim and it will really let loose.
  • Creating anything beautiful in this world is hard as hell and downright dangerous.
  • Having an original thought and uttering it is also dangerous.
  • Everybody’s a critic – accept that and move on.
  • Some people will love your work, others will hate it. Accept it and move on.
  • Baby steps.

Art is hard but what else do you have to do?

Speaking your mind and saying (or painting, or drawing, or singing, or dancing) what you really think? Blasphemy. But do it anyway. Because you’re an artist. Because you’re an innovator. Because you’re an entrepreneur. Unlike most ordinary humans, you create stuff. Usually out of thin air. That’s your superpower, so use it baby. Revel in that. Understand that. Be that.
Stay committed and the rest will follow.

What discourages you about being a creative? How have you handled it? Share your thoughts and experiences with the rest of us.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

Kick Start Your Freelance Career with an Apprenticeship

apprentice

When I started out as a freelance writer, I failed miserably. I failed in so many ways I doubt I have enough time left on Earth to recount them. Suffice to say that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.

Still I slogged along, taking whatever work I could get for whatever pay I could get. In order to support my ‘career’ I had to work non-writing jobs to make ends meet. Why I didn’t give up is beyond me – but I had a dream that just couldn’t be killed.

Out of the blue came the call of freedom

At perhaps one of the lowest points in my life—I was working in a warehouse making $10 an hour, after returning to L.A. broken from a disastrous love affair—I got an email out of the blue. Someone who read my blog wanted to know if I was interested in doing some web writing. Was I??? Yet bet.

Again, lots of mistakes, emotional outbursts and general insanity ensued but I learned quite a bit from my editor. And I will always be grateful to her for what she taught me. And more so for how she toughened me up – because truth be told I can be quite the crybaby when I set my mind to it.

So I quit my warehouse job all hyped up to be a real freelance writer. Exciting. For about ten minutes. Because shortly after that the work dwindled. I started eying the want ads again, sure I’d always be a failure. But wait, another email out of the blue saved me.

The start of a real apprenticeship

A friend and fellow writer asked me if I’d be interested in helping her with a long term project she had with a major company who provided content for attorneys. I would be assigned certain projects, write them, send them to her, she would edit, we would go over the changes, and then submit. My pay was a cut of what she was paid for each page. The proposition seemed fair and a really good escape from the 9 to 5 grind I was so diligently trying to avoid, so I said yes.

I have to admit there were days I wanted to put my head in the oven rather than write one more blog post about car accidents or probate but I persevered. The project lasted well over a year and after all was said and done I’d written hundreds of web pages and blog posts. Some practice areas I knew so well that I could write them in my sleep.

Now here’s the valuable part – it was the personal care and editing that my mentor gave me. She really took the time to go over the edits and she was very smart because she made me implement the changes rather than just making them herself and sending it on. This impacted me much more and I learned very quickly to self edit. As time went on, her edits became lighter and lighter. And I credit this to her method – getting me to make the changes really drove home the why and wherefore. After apprenticing with Lyn I knew I was a freelance writer and that I could deliver. I knew that if I promised something to a client I could keep that promise. I knew I was ready and not destined to failure anymore.

How does this little story help you?

My point is that if you’re looking for a way to break in, if you have contacts who’d be willing to apprentice you, then approach them. Offer to sub-contract, taking less pay and learn from them. If you don’t have contacts you can:

  • Approach web content companies/web design companies
  • Approach established freelancers
  • Approach editors of popular websites/blogs

Be honest with them and tell them you don’t have experience but you want to learn. Offer to apprentice under one of their experienced writers at a reduced rate until you’re ready to fly solo. Busy writers and busy companies are always looking for help. You may be the one who can offer that help.

If somebody takes you up on your offer then commit to it. Commit to becoming a sponge and soak up everything you possibly can. Accept that you’re going to do a lot of rewriting and make changes that you might not like. Be gracious because someone is taking their time to teach you their secrets. Cry in private and oh yeah, you’ll cry. But that’s okay, because after the tears comes knowledge and understanding and eventually confidence.

So, if you have an opportunity to apprentice – take it. If you’re lucky and you’re diligent you may up becoming a real bonafide freelance writer.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015
To read about the history of apprenticeships, go here.

Ranting, Bashing and Speaking Before Thinking

rants

Let’s face it we all have bad days. Sometimes even bad weeks, months or years. It happens. Somebody says something or does something, or you make a terrible decision that comes back and knocks the heck out of you. If it’s traumatic, it’s hard to recover – no matter what you do.

And when we’re upset, sometimes our first inclination is to strike back. We’re not doormats after all, right? We shouldn’t take it lying down, right? All’s fair in love and war, right? Maybe not so much.

If someone wrongs you, has inflicted unwarranted pain on you, discouraged you, or flat out attacked you – then you have a right to counter-attack. Don’t you? Perhaps. Maybe if you could keep it strictly between you and the offender. But the problem is that in modern life, nothing is private. Even your disagreements with your spouse are likely to end up on Facebook or Twitter. So attacking your attacker with wild abandon may come back to bite you.

Don’t Click that Publish Button Yet

Too many people allow themselves to be swept away by their emotional response to a slight, insult, bad review, criticism, etc. Since everybody in the world has a blog, the first impulse is to write a scathing blog post about this terrible thing that has happened to you. But wait. Do you really want your mother to see that? How about a future prospect? Thousands of strangers? Your boss? Your clients, customers or readers? How will they respond? Chances are, not very well.

Sure, go ahead and write that post but don’t publish it. Let it sit there. Read it two weeks from now. Still want to publish it? If so, let it sit another two weeks, go back, and read it again. Chances are you’ll end up deleting it. And be glad you didn’t publish it. While striking back may make you feel better in the heat of the moment, there are a lot of reasons you should reconsider:

  • You could be wrong. Maybe you just misunderstood something and lept to conclusions
  • Others will be turned off and think you are petty
  • You may lose readers, customers, friends or other allies
  • You could be perceived as petty, angry and/or arrogant or even a bully
  • It could hurt others who don’t deserve it
  • It doesn’t change the situation and often makes it worse

The Best Revenge is Success

If you have any kind of online presence or your career puts you in the public eye, you’ll have detractors. It’s simply a fact of life. You can’t get away from it and if you try to attack it, things will only get worse because you chance starting a never-ending battle of being right. Think about it – do you really want to be engaged in the fight forever? So, what can you do?

To quote Vito Corleone:

“Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

Depending on the type of attack, there are plenty of strategies you can use:

  • Ignore it
  • Hire a reputation management company
  • File a lawsuit
  • Provide documentation that demonstrates that accusation is false

In most cases, you don’t have to go as far as the above suggestions; generally, you can just go about your business, stay focused and succeed. People who try to engage you in firefights and online spats aren’t succeeding, which is why they feel the need to attack you. In you, they see a threat. It may only be real in their minds but that is likely what is motivating them. There’s no need for you to play the game. You should feel sorry for them and then move on. If you do, eventually they’ll get bored and move on too.

If you really want to get their goat – prosper and flourish. Succeed. Do you own thing. That’s what counts, right? Your own goals and what you’re trying to achieve? Not some petty words or acts committed by someone you barely know. Believe in yourself and carry on. Believe me, there’s nothing that drives naysayers crazier than that.

If you have to rant – do so in front of your dog or another non-English speaking creatures that don’t have access to a computer. You’ll feel better and nobody will be any the wiser.

What do you think about ranting and bashing on the Internet? Do you do it? Do you like it? Hate it? How do you handle such situations?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

10 Things That Will Never Go Out of Style

grace

A smile. Whether you’ve got perfect white teeth or a mouthful of metal, when you smile at someone they will smile back. And you’ve given them just a little something they didn’t have before.

A helping hand. Helping someone just because they need it and there is nothing in it for you

Blue jeans. No explanation needed

Good manners. We were all taught to say please and thank you as kids and just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you’ve outgrown the lesson. Good manners are the lubricant of a civilized society.

Kindness. It doesn’t hurt, costs nothing and can make a difference to the person who receives it.

Stories. As long as humans roam the Earth there will always be stories to tell and tell again. It’s the way we share history, beliefs, traditions and our feelings.

Love. There is not a creature on Earth that doesn’t respond to love and acceptance.

America. No matter how many groups, people or politicians criticize this country – we are still unique and value personal liberties and freedom more than any other nation on Earth. And really if all the naysaying were true – would millions of people risk life and limb just to try to get here?

Beauty. Not just physical human beauty. The perfect the sunset, a painting that inspires emotion, a perfectly executed dance, a meal cooked to perfection, babies laughing, flowers sprouting in the snow. We are surrounded by beauty – we only have to open our eyes.

Grace. Webster’s defines grace as: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency. Although there are other definitions it is this kind of grace that I reference. To be kind, to show courtesy and understanding when you don’t have to. To forgive when others have wronged you. To carry on despite impossible circumstances. That is the kind of grace I hope to embody someday.

What are your top ten things that will never go out of style?

Writer Chick

Why does fiction have to be logical when real life makes no damn sense at all?

While working on the current novel, I managed to line up a few beta readers. Total excitement. I’d never had beta readers before. What would they tell me? Would they make me cry? Would they stroke my ego. Would they love the book or hate it? Would I (in the end) acknowledge that I’m not creative after all and set up an affiliate website selling info products? Would they give me insight or would I be incited to violence. I just didn’t know.

After weeks of patiently waiting. Not really patient. Pretty much impatient. Actually very impatient. I finally heard back from one of my guys. The feed back was pretty nice but there were a few things I needed clarified, so I sent a follow up email with questions. Easy-peesey, right?

The answers were where the real nitty-gritty came out. It’s not that I disagreed with the answers, or even got upset. But they did present a problem. A major premise of the story, according to the beta, was not believable. Yikes!

So, I thought about it. I asked other people about it. I thought about it some more. I tried to come up with a way around it, because if I gave in, then well you know, rewrites.

I even had an eight part email fly back and forth between me and another reader about how it could be fixed. Oddly, I was the one playing devil’s advocate when the poor girl was fighting for my premise.

In the end, I decided the beta was right. It had to change. I had to change because you know, readers, they don’t like illogical things in their books. It’s a rule. I don’t know who wrote the rule, but I’m very sure it’s an official, carved in stone rule.

Real Life vs. Fictional Real Life

But even though I did agree with the beta it got me thinking. This rule about how fiction has to be logical. Has to be ‘believable’ when real life is anything but that. Let’s face it, real life is crazy, even on a good day. Nothing makes sense from the small (why is he driving that way?) to the huge (we’re going to war because of what?).

And examples of the illogic of life are everywhere:

  • Beautiful women married to fat ugly men
  • Pajama wearing, self-made millionaires who got rich selling ‘information’
  • James Carville and Mary Matalin
  • Animals rights activists who are against killing animals but for abortion
  • Politicians get elected for criticizing their predecessors for the exact things they do once in office
  • Reality TV
  • How Facebook apparently kills brain cells
  • Half the things you see (and can’t un-see) in emergency rooms
  • Atheists using the phrase “Oh My God”
  • Good people dying
  • Bad people getting rich
  • Chocolate cake with Diet Coke
  • Running or bicycling along high traffic roads (with plenty of exhaust)
  • Hard workers get fired
  • In America dead people vote in every election

Plot point? What plot point?

In fiction every scene, every action, and every bit of dialogue has to move the plot forward. If it doesn’t, it’s cut. But does life follow plot points? Is there some logical path that life takes that leads us to the Promised Land or our dreams or goals? Hell no. Musicians slave away at bar and top-40 gigs all to get their big breaks, while some pimply faced 13 year old becomes a sensation because of a video posted on YouTube. Life is completely unconcerned with moving the story forward. Rather it pushes in every direction possible away from forward.

But even despite all this. Despite the fact that life is truly stranger than fiction I think I understand why fiction has to make sense, has to be logical and follow through to the end. It’s because we humans have to see something resolved. We have to see somebody reach their goal. We have to see somebody get their happily ever after. I mean, let’s face it, we don’t read so we can get reality, right? We read to escape. We read so we can become someone else for a while. Live their life, which is typically much more interesting than our own. We read to immerse ourselves into a risk free adventure. We read for relief from all that ails us.

When we’re done with our mini vacation from life we can return, perhaps a little calmer, maybe even a little wiser, and ready once again to deal with all the glorious illogic of real life.

Feel free to argue, agree, or contradict me in the comments.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2014

Waiting for All to be Right with the World

waiting for all to be right with the worldI started this blog so that (among other things) I would commit to writing every day. I knew I needed discipline and this blog was the ways and means to obtain that discipline.

And I did it.

For the first four years, come rain or shine, happy or sad – I wrote.

Then somewhere along the way I stopped. I looked around and noticed most bloggers weren’t posting everyday. So why should I? I posted less.

Then things happened.

I moved.

I got engaged.

We broke up.

I moved again. And again. And again.

Then the economy.

I still wrote. I still blogged. But less often. And then even less.
Then I got it in my head that I needed advice. There’s lots of advice on how to blog. What to blog. The best way to blog. The worst way to blog. Niche blogging. Power blogging. Business blogging.

I signed up for every webinar, newsletter and mailing list that could teach me how to blog. Forget the fact that I’d been blogging for years. Apparently I needed to learn to how to do it right.

Didn’t help. Not only was I not inspired to write more. I wrote less. I never had any ideas. The few idea I had – I didn’t like. Writing became a chore.

I threw up my hands and started a new novel. Actually, I’d started a few others but they went exactly nowhere. But this one was different. It engaged me. The story mattered to me. I wasn’t blogging but I was writing.

But…

I still didn’t write every day.

Why not? For lots of reasons. Did any of them matter? Nope.

Life is messy – always. Even when you get a reprieve, it’s not for long. Cars break down. Clients disappear. Too much work. Not enough work. Work dries up. Sure things never are. Friends move. Loved ones get sick. There’s always something. Always. Something.

But then it hit me. My problem. I’ve been waiting for all to be right with the world. Like I needed some special nirvanic place in which to create. So if I had to wait for all to be right with the world before I could write that meant that I couldn’t write until: Things settled down. I landed more clients. Tax season was over. I’d lost twenty pounds. I wasn’t so tired. After the laundry. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Personally, I believe we all do this. We put aside things that matter to us while we’re waiting for all to be right with the world. The economy. Our jobs. Our kids. Our parents. Politics. The house is messy. The lawn needs mowing. It’s too noisy. It’s too quiet.

Meanwhile, we’re not doing the thing that makes life worth living. We’re not doing what makes us feel alive and like ourselves. We’re just waiting for a license to survive. To create. To be who we are. Waiting for someone to show up and assure us that we’re now allowed to write that novel, make that film, start that business, join that group, take those dance lessons. Whatever it is – we deny ourselves because we think there’s a special moment in time that will signal that all is right with our worlds and we can proceed.

But the truth is – there is never a right time

The only time you actually get is right now. Tomorrow is less of a promise and more of a hope. No matter how much you plan, life will mess up your plans. No matter how much stuff you put on your calendar something will knock it off. As long as you’re waiting for permission, you’ll never get it.

And besides all that, all will never be right with the world. No matter how much we want it. No matter how much people are convinced that they can make it happen (if only everyone would cooperate with them!). Not going to happen. Utopia is not coming to a theater near you any time soon. And probably not at all.

But what you can do is start that thing that you want so desperately. Sign up for that class. Write that book. Start that business. Learn that skill. Go back to school. Dare to be you. Right now. This minute.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2014

Does everything have to be a “thing”? (Are you just a marketing widget?)

photograph courtesy of morguefile.com
photograph courtesy of morguefile.com

You can chalk it up to the rebel in me but I really hate labels.  And it seems like more and more that every activity, belief, principle, component, element has to have a label.  It has to be a ‘thing.’  Know what I mean?

For example…

Can’t we just be good about conservation, maximize our resources, re-purpose our old stuff, and care about nature in general without having to be an environmentalist? Or worried about global warming, climate change – or whatever the kids are calling it these days?

Or can’t people who read blogs or books just be readers instead of your tribe,  your audience, your peeps?

Can’t we just be Americans without the hyphens?

Do our sex lives have to define us? Straight? Gay? Transgender? Bi? And how on Earth did our ‘sexual orientation’ (another word that drives me bats) become political?

As Americans don’t we all just have rights?  Do we really need sub-categories of women’s rights, gay rights, animal rights, illegal immigrant rights?  Do our smart-phones, tablets, computers, televisions and cars have rights too? Maybe not today but don’t be surprised if somebody suggests it in the not too distant future.

Are we all just widgets and demographics?

I think it’s interesting that people are so concerned about political parties and who has minorities and majorities in this administration or that administration.  And yeah, it’s important.  But the thing we all seem to miss is that the people who have the real power are those who can convince us that we belong in groups.  That we are merely a number in their given category.  That we aren’t really individuals.  That we are defined by our interests and not by who we are. Who are these nefarious folks?  Marketers.  People who want to sell us stuff.  And no matter how much stuff they sell us, they want to sell us more. We’re not people, we’re just group members, numbers, part of the demo – widgets.

For example, I’m ‘white, middle-age, single female, christian, conservative baby boomer.’  These folks don’t care that I love animals, would help anyone who needed help, am a great cook, can make people laugh, grow the best tomatoes on the planet, love a good steak, have passion for the written word, hate to drive but love cars, voracious reader, prolific writer, love puns, cry at beautiful things, shoot straight from the hip kind of gal.  Because they don’t see me or you as a person, just as someone to manipulate to buy and use their stuff. (And there’s that whole creating the us against them scenario, which I probably shouldn’t even go into here…)

If you’re worried about the government spying on you and learning all about you, then you should be terrified of the marketers out there who are doing it in spades.  I mean, who do you think taught the government how to do it? Whose technology does the government use to learn all your secrets?

I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with people wanting to sell their wares.  There are a lot of really cool and useful products and services out there and people who want them and can use them, should know about them.  But I am suggesting that we have allowed marketers to get so inside our heads that we no longer define ourselves – instead we let them define us. Know what I mean?

Resistance is futile – or is it?

So I suggest that we resist.  Stop letting them make you a widget in a crowd of widgets.  Resist the urge of putting yourself into categories – especially ones provided by others.  Define yourself.  Use your own words.  Be the unique person that you are. Because we’re people, damn it! Right?

Are you tired of feeling like a widget in the big demographic machine?  Or do you like the labels?  Why?

Writer Chick

Copyright 2014

10 Things We’ll Never Get Rid Of…

10 things we'll never get rid ofMost of us have a tiny idealist just dying to get out and soar.  We believe that deep down people are good and life is worth living.  And it’s true, most people are basically good and you can have a life worth living.  However, that inner idealist also often believes that in some future utopian reality, all the ills of the world will be behind us.  That cruelty will cease to exist and everybody will be happy, happy,  happy.  Sorry but I beg to differ.

No matter what you do or how hard you try you just aren’t going to change human nature (we’re an imperfect lot, don’t you know?), and therefore – despite all wishes to the contrary there are some things we’ll just never get rid of.  Such as:

Politicians.  It’s a dirty job and apparently there are lots of people to do it.  Because let’s face it, power and corruption are pretty attractive to a lot of people.

Whiners.  No matter how wonderful things are, no matter how harmonious, aesthetic, peaceful or otherwise copacetic, someone will always complain about something.  Gee, it must suck to be them.

Weather.  Sorry greenies but no matter how many rules you make up.  How many models you create.  How many stupid, tiny, little cars you create – we’re still going to have weather.  It’s going to rain.  And we’re going to have droughts.  We’ll have floods.  We’ll have good growing seasons and bad growing seasons.  It will get really fucking hot and un-fucking-believably cold.  Deal with it.  Unless you can put a freaking bio-dome over the entire planet, no you aren’t going to control the weather.  Or prevent some weird little insect from dying out.  Besides, I thought you guys were all into evolution and things progressing naturally.  I mean, didn’t we all have tails at some point on the evolutionary track?  Well maybe not tails but I bet our teeth are way less pointy then they were say a 100,000 years ago.  Know what I’m saying?

Commercials.  I don’t care what any company ever says to you or promises you.  We will always be inundated with ads.  Screaming for our attention.  First there was radio.  Then television.  Then cable television. Then streaming television. And what do they all have?  Commercials.  Crap even most YouTube videos make you watch an ad before you can see the 40 second video.  Movie theaters used to restrict their ads to upcoming movies, now it’s about anything and everything. Oh and don’t you love those little bits that warn you about being polite, turning off your cell phones and not talking during the movie?

Talking heads.  Second only to whiners.  A talking head’s whole purpose in life is to tell you what you should think.  Whether it’s about politics, culture, entertainment, where to send your kids to school or what kind of car you should drive – apparently they have some special super-power that you haven’t.  The thing I don’t understand is how they came into being in the first place.  Did somebody just wake up one day and say, “hey nobody knows what to do, we need to advise them!”?  Although, I think once upon a time they were journalists…but we haven’t had actual journalists for a long time…

War.  Yeah, I know.  That really sucks.  But the thing is, as long as one person can piss off another person, there will be war.  I know, I know, some of you are thinking about that far off future utopia that will put an end to war.  Forget about it.  One man’s utopia is just another man’s hell and if nothing else, they’ll have a war about that.  War is here to stay.

Bullies.  I know what you’re thinking.  That because of all these laws about bullying and those nifty public service announcements, we’ll beat the bullies.  Okay, well I have a unicorn in my backyard that you might like to adopt too…  Like good is to bad and right is to wrong – bullies will always exist.  Because some people are just mean, don’t care about anyone but themselves and want things that strictly speaking belong to someone else.  And like gun-free zones, bully-free zones don’t work either.  Mostly because bullies usually can’t read. And the ones who can grow up to be tyrants (the biggest bullies of them all).

Reality Shows.  Which of course are as far from reality as you can get.  Except that in every heart lives a little meanie who likes to see others make big-ass fools out of themselves, so they can feel better about their own selves.  I know, not pretty.

Victims.  Now, I don’t mean real victims.  Children subjected to war or domestic abuse.  I mean people who claim that every little thing that happens to them makes them a victim.  They lost their job because their employer discriminated against them (never mind that they called in sick every other day and never did any actual work), or they lost their homes because Bank of America exists, or they got hit by a car because they walked out into traffic against the light while they were texting on their smartphone.  Because you see when you’re a victim you don’t have to be responsible for your actions, your words or your life.  You can live on the dole, make others take care of you and often star in political commercials.  Life is good, ain’t it?

Know-bests.  These are people are the personification of ‘do as I say not as I do.’  They live in a rarefied world where they know what is best for you and everybody else and damn it, they’re going to make sure they control, regulate and/or legislate every aspect of your life.  They’re going to tell you what you can eat, what you can say, how you can act and the kind of work you may do.  They will ensure you drive the kind of car they deem correct, what causes you may support and the kind of healthcare you may have. When it comes to them, however, they do what they want, they indulge in any type of decadence they desire, and you may not under any circumstance criticize them without then being sullied as a racist, bigot, one-percenter, denier, extremist, or bully.

But despite the fact that we will never get rid of these things, remarkably the human race will survive.  And most of us will live decent and good lives.

Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know what you think. I love to hear what other people think.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2014